Dr. Sylvain Costes – Genetic Data from Space | Genes in Space
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Dr. Sylvain Costes – Genetic Data from Space | Genes in Space

eEvery experiment aboard the
International Space Station started off as just an idea and now your ideas can
become real-life experiments up in space too. Today I’m at NASA’s Ames Research
Center to talk with Dr. Sylvain Costes about Gene Lab and the many different
types of genetic data that we get from the ISS. Getting samples from the space
are still something pretty rare. Whatever comes back you want to get everything
you can out of it and study it in every direction you can. My name is Sylvain
Costes and I’m the project manager for Gene Lab and I’m also a principal
investigator at NASA Ames Research Center. “-Omics” is very attractive because
it requires only a little bit of RNA or DNA and/or protein and so you don’t need
a lot of tissue to do these omics typically and it’s getting even better now
and you can get tons of interesting information. So you can get a sense of
what is changing in space in a living entity and try to understand why and and
even try to understand how you can then block it. So for instance if you see
something that is negatively impacting someone changes in the muscle is a
well-known feature because you don’t have gravity and so the muscle is, you’re
going through some kind of atrophy of the muscle and that goes along with a
molecular signature. Once we find the molecular signature we can maybe find
ways to find a drug that can mitigate this response in some fashion. So Gene Lab
is the unique database in the world right now that has been collecting all
the different kind of omics from samples that are flown in space or from samples
that have relevance to space. So we go from microbe, plants, to mice and drosophila and small animals so we cover the full spectrum and so we’re putting it
all together to get a better idea of what what are the molecular changes
happening in space and all the different entities and species. And let’s say you
have an expert in osteoporosis. So classic disease,
women are very they tend to be more vulnerable to osteoporosis because
once they go through menopause their uptake of calcium is lower and so you
have all these disease related to the bone loss.
Therefore there are drugs out there that are trying to counteract this. Right so
let’s say you’re an expert in osteoporosis and you’re going to Gene Lab database
and you see your classic signatures of osteoporosis. I go “Oh, this is classic and
I actually have a drug that’s actually perfect for that.” You would first try it
on mice of course, ensure that it is it is helping but eventually this could
make its way to the humans especially if it’s a drug that’s already FDA approved
on earth there’s no reason you can’t give it to astronauts. So that would be a
perfect story for helping out our astronauts. So science is a tough
business. I would say I remember my mentor when I was doing my PhD she
always told me, “You know, science is about delayed gratification.” So you have to be
very patient therefore very passionate. If you’re willing to do all this stuff
then then you’re gonna be exposed something amazing because you are
joining the team of people who are trying to decipher how nature works. By
entering the Genes in Space contest your experiments designed to test questions
about life in space and astrobiology can be sent to the ISS from the Kennedy
Space Center in Florida. Go to GenesinSpace.org to find out more about how to
turn your ideas into real-life experiments up in space!

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